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  1. #1
    MikeSeb's Avatar
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    Archival negative storage methods

    If I've posted in the wrong forum I trust the moderators will relocate it.

    Apologies if this is an old, tired subject, but I'd like some fresh opinions.

    I've been using Print-File sleeves for many years, stored in plastic enclosed "dust proof" 3-ring binder boxes. I'm wondering if there's a better way. I shoot mostly 120 (6x4.5 or 6x7) and 4x5. Because that demon d*****l is a part of my workflow, I have to trim the negative strips somewhat shorter than I would if I were exclusively optically printing. This means the strips don't fit easily into the available Print-File page solutions, and I waste a lot of storage. Plus, I wonder if some of my dust problems have to do with static generated during insertion and retrieval of negatives from the print-file sleeves.

    For those who have used both the print-file-type page sleeves and the Archival Supplies-type acid-free boxes, envelopes, and sleeves, which do you like better? My objectives are compactness of storage, archival and dust-free safety, freedom from scratching/static when inserting/removing, and ease of cataloging/retrieval. I don't absolutely have to be able to see the negatives; I scan everything for cataloging purposes, so I can find an image on the computer and then pull the negative.

    I was thinking of boxes containing envelopes, each containing one or more rolls of side-lock-sleeved 120 strips. For 4x5, individual sleeved negatives would be stored. I'm not averse to either poly or glassine, depending on what others' experiences have been with either.

    Opinions? and thanks for bearing with me on this tedious subject.
    Michael Sebastian
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  2. #2
    Chazzy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeSeb View Post
    If I've posted in the wrong forum I trust the moderators will relocate it.

    Apologies if this is an old, tired subject, but I'd like some fresh opinions.

    I've been using Print-File sleeves for many years, stored in plastic enclosed "dust proof" 3-ring binder boxes.
    I'd be interested to hear more about the dust-proof, 3-ring binder boxes, since I use normal 3-ring binders. Will they hold a large number of negative pages and associated proof sheets, or are they only available in smaller sizes?
    Charles Hohenstein

  3. #3

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    Good topic.

    I do not like the new "plastic" negative storage pages, negatives seem to stick when inserting and removing. I like the old "glassine" stlye but cannot find any for 120 or 35mm.

    Which is better for long term storage, the newer plastic or the older glassine pages?

  4. #4
    bobwysiwyg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cknapp1961 View Post
    Good topic.

    I do not like the new "plastic" negative storage pages, negatives seem to stick when inserting and removing.
    Ran into the same problem. I found if you scissor off the tiniest little nip off each corner, the problem is solved.
    WYSIWYG - At least that's my goal.

    Portfolio-http://apug.org/forums/portfolios.php?u=25518

  5. #5

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    I shoot 35mm, but I find the individual mylar sleeves that you insert the strip from the top, plus envelopes and boxes much better than the printfile pages. I used to use those but didn't like sliding my strips in and out the long way.

  6. #6
    MikeSeb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chazzy View Post
    I'd be interested to hear more about the dust-proof, 3-ring binder boxes, since I use normal 3-ring binders. Will they hold a large number of negative pages and associated proof sheets, or are they only available in smaller sizes?
    I've used a couple different kinds; can't recall where I got them. Probably B&H. They are basically plastic 3-ring binders built like a shirt box with the rings along a long narrow edge. They close up to seal against dust. Only problem I've seen with them is plastic fatigue. A couple have started to fracture along the cover hinge; another type has latches that keep the cover lid closed, and I can see these starting to fatigue with repeated opening and closing.

    It is this sort of thing, plus a desire to better optimize my use of storage materials, that has me thinking about sleeves/envelopes/boxes going forward. In fact, I ordered stuff for both 120 and 4x5 today from Archival Methods.
    Michael Sebastian
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  7. #7
    Wade D's Avatar
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    My negative filing system is a low tech approach. 35mm, 2 1/4 & 4x5 are stored in standard mailing envelopes with date & subject written on the outside. I don't use proof sheets. All of the envelopes are stored in metal ammo boxes with a 2 pound silica gel pack to control humidity. I have negatives stored this way that go back 40 years and have never had a problem with any that have been pulled to print. A bit old fashioned but it works well for me. Of course all are cross referenced on my computer so I can find what I want.

  8. #8

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    I still like the clear pages best - having used the boxes and with envolopes in the past.

    I put my negatives- 135-120-4X5-5X7 in Mylar folders and then slide the combination into appropriate
    pages from Light Impressions. This eliminates the sliding part for the film.

    Unfortunately, the Mylar folders in 4X5 and 5X7 require some trimming to size for this to work. But it is worth it to me.

  9. #9
    ozphoto's Avatar
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    I've used a combination of the clear pages and glassine stored in a 4 ring binder. However, I must have inadvertently purchased some "non-archival" plastic ones at some stage - a number of my negs have started to physically deteriorate. I thought maybe I hadn't washed or fixed for long enough originally, but film stored in the glassine ones processed at the same time, are perfect. Re-fixing some that weren't too bad was a *really bad idea*; the image bubbled as if it has been burned by a flame and of course that strip is now worthless. (Ended up looking as if I'd used acid to fix and wash it.)

    In any case, any plastic sleeves that weren't marked "Archival" have been binned and I'll stick with glassine ones from now on. Would prefer not to have this happen a second (or third) time.

    - Nanette

  10. #10
    Bosaiya's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeSeb View Post
    Only problem I've seen with them is plastic fatigue. A couple have started to fracture along the cover hinge; another type has latches that keep the cover lid closed, and I can see these starting to fatigue with repeated opening and closing.
    That's nothing a little duct tape and bailing wire won't cure.

    I have a lot of three-ring binders, myself. They're not the greatest solution, but they're economical. There are various grades of clasps, some are more suited to the heavy weight of stuffed negative sleeves and are priced accordingly.

    Another option is to stick the regular binders inside large Ziploc bags (they make some pretty impressive sizes these days). I do that with various items if I know it's going to get dusty or wet around them.

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